I couldn't really NOT interview Roger Rao. Currently he holds the New Zealand National Cadet, Junior, Secondary School Junior and Senior Mens titles and came seemingly from nowhere to break the TTNZ record for the youngest player to win the National Senior Champs at 13 years of age. Roger also won the Cadet Boys Singles event at the 2010 Oceania Table Tennis Championships and was a member of the Oceania Cadet Team which played the World Cadet Championships in India last year. Incredibly talented for his age and with much still to offer in the future he is one to keep an eye on. Here is my interview with Roger.
Full Name: Roger Rao
Date Of Birth: 07/11/1996
Nation represented: New Zealand
Highest Oceania Ranking (Cadet): 1
|Roger Rao at the 2010 Senior National Championships|
Image courtesy of infonews.co.nz
Blade: Timo Boll ALC-Straight
FH Rubber: Tenergy 05-black
BH Rubber: Tenergy 64-red
How long have you been playing table tennis for, when and how did you start?
I’ve been playing table tennis for about 4 years since the 2nd half of 2007 when I was nearly 11. From the earliest I can recall, I started because I was playing table tennis in a friend’s garage.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career so far?
Probably my parents: They supported me all the way.
What was the highlight of your table tennis career?
Meeting many different people, travelling overseas, and, of course, taking titles!
You were the youngest ever New Zealand Champion at 13 years old, how do you feel about that?
What's your training schedule for a week period?
Tuesday:1 on 1 training-1 hour, squad training-2 hours
Friday: 1 on 1 training-1 hour
Saturday: Squad training-2 hours
What is your goal for the next few years for table tennis?
Just represent NZ in larger more competitive events, such as the Commonwealth Games.
Who has been your biggest rival out on the table since you started playing?
Hmmmmmm. To be serious, I have had far too many to count because when I started playing table tennis, everyone was much better than me-even kids 3 years younger than me! However, my biggest rival in my own age group in NZ is Xu Ning.
Who is your favourite international player and why?
Zhang Jike. He is awesome.
|Roger at the National Secondary Schools Competition 2011|
Image Courtesy of the Manawatu Standard
Off the Topic Questions
Who’s your favourite sportsperson of all time?
Mmmmmm. Don’t have one…
I can eat anything/everything. No favourites. (very boring)
What do you do when you aren't playing table tennis?
Probably at home hogging the laptop, or studying, or outside with my mates.
Mmmmmm… I’ve always liked sports cars…probably a Porsche (idk)
Ideal holiday destination?
Europe. Anywhere in Europe would be great.
First thing you would do if you won $1million?
Give some to my family.
Your Team Mates
Who’s the funniest player in the training hall?
Who trains the hardest in the training hall?
Me. JOKES! Probably some of the juniors like Roger Wang
Who’s the funniest team player?
Zhiyang Cheng. Again.
Who has the best nickname?
Nicknames??? None bro.
Would you like to add one last tip, or an inspirational message for other young table tennis players looking to succeed?
It’s not quantity that counts. It’s the quality.
Roger's Round the Net Shot
Auckland Open Under 18 Boys Final 2011
Thanks Roger :)